In John 5 we see an amazing story where Jesus is teaching in a crowded room. It is so crowded in fact, that nobody else can get in. The doors are full, the windows are full and so some men, who have brought their friend to Jesus to be healed take drastic action. They go up on the roof of the house and cut a hole and lower their friend down to Jesus. Imagine the shock on the faces of those inside when dust starts to fall on them and then a hole appears above them...and then a man is lowered by ropes to the ground! It's madness!
Jesus, it says, sees the faith of the friends and forgives the paralyzed man. A few of the religious leaders scoff at this and question Jesus' right to forgive; so in order to prove that he does have the power and right, he also tells the man to get up, take his mat and walk.
And this is the point of my little message today. So far the faith has all been from the friends. The taking to Jesus. The cutting the hole. The lowering down. All of this has been due to the faith of the friends who believed Jesus could heal. But now the man himself has to do something, he has to stand up. And though Jesus tells him he is able, he has to believe it. We don't know how long he has gone without standing, maybe years or maybe his whole life...but the act of standing up must be scary. What if he falls? What if they laugh at him? But he gathers his courage, uses muscles long forgotten and he stands, he walks, he picks up that mat that he used to lie on.
If Jesus tells you to do what you think you cannot do, would you try or would you worry about failing and so stay on the floor in fear?
The faith of others can only take you so far, eventually you will need to stand on your own faith in Jesus.